Make. It. Stop.
Scientists are now saying putting pantyhose on your head makes masks safer.
A ‘peer-reviewed’ study from researchers at the University of Cambridge tested different mask ‘hacks’ to find the best way to create a good seal around the face.
The researchers taped the edges of the mask to the face, filled the sides of the mask with gauze, used a ‘mummy method’ with gauze, put a knot in the ear loops, used rubber bands around the front and wrapped pantyhose around the head.
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Their findings were released in PLoS One this week and the pantyhose hack won.
“The pantyhose caused high levels of discomfort as well as issues speaking and occasional obstruction of the eyes,” the researchers wrote.
A better seal around the edges of the masks means more protection from COVID-19, but most consumer-level surgical masks and KN95s leave gaps around the sides. The researchers tested seven different hacks that attempt to close the gaps, on surgical and KN95 masks:
- Taping the edges of a mask to one’s face
- Filling the sides of a mask with gauze
- Binding the mask to the face with gauze (the “mummy” method)
- Putting a knot in the ear loops
- Rubber bands around the front to create a “brace” against the mouth
- A slice of pantyhose wrapped around the face
All of these were better than nothing when tested by measuring concentrations of particles inside and around the mask. But the one that created the best seal was the pantyhose: they cut a section out of the thigh of some hose and yanked that over the wearer’s head and mask (except for one participant, who couldn’t get the hosiery over his head). The pressure of the stretchy fabric kept the mask on tight, but there was a catch: people really hated wearing it.